Desperate Need of help for this one...

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
Sparkles
Newborn Bully
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:18 am
Location: Minnesota

Desperate Need of help for this one...

Postby Sparkles » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:59 am

Ok, before I post my questions, please note I have read most the topics about behavior and training. But, my questions lie more so in the fact that I want your opinions in what has worked for "you". As a dedicated dog owner and lover, I know that training is a must. However, with the $ I've just spent to have Violet...and being a single mom of three kids, I can't quite afford the training class for a few more weeks...as unfortunate it is...it's just the way I have to deal with things until more money comes in a couple of weeks. However, I have to do what I can in the meantime.

Ok, so Violet...was adopted at the age of 6 months. Personally, I don't think she would ever "purposefully" hurt a living soul...smaller animals I don't know! I do know she's an extremely smart watch dog and hears just about everything. She is just a lover and will sleep at me or my kids feet...sometimes on top of them which I have to be careful for because she "thinks" she weighs about 5 pounds when in reality she weighs just over 40 lol! Now, the shelter had no information on her whereabouts before she came to the shelter other than she was already 3 months old...which doesn't help me in my training with her either.

The problems I seem to be having the most are these...

I'm working extremely hard on leash training. Maybe it's because I'm a "woman" and don't have a dominant voice...or what I don't know. But, I'm really trying hard. However, she does NOT like her leash or collar for that matter. She does really well for the first part of our walk and will sit when asked...heel when asked. However, after she gets out in the grass she gets excited? Which maybe that way for some of your dogs as well? Then, she starts to grab up at her leash and almost starts playing tug of war which is not what I want. I continuously say no nicely, and after awhile I raise my voice...which is don't want to do either...but she continues to do it. She just wouldn't stop today on our walk so I simply said No..and I carried her large butt home...(it was only a few steps) but either way. Once I got the door, she sat for me and waited for me to go in...like the normal nice pup I have. But for some reason, anytime I take her on our "long" walks..she does this? She has a harness which I use and it helps somewhat...but if I simply hook her to the collar, it just doesn't work period. I really think it's inhumane anyways because I feel like Im' choking her when I tell her to heel. She also is almost too excited when I get her in the house that she runs and jumps on everything once I get her in the house...and even "nips" or mouths my kids feet...and that for some reason scares them...even though I tell them to not fear her...but they are kids and probably don't understand her as I do. I know this is getting long but what have you done that works? Any suggestions? I know training training training, but like I said...it will just have to wait a few weeks. I've also tried a "time out" for her when I notice she's nipping too hard or nipping when I don't want her to at all. I will admit at first I probably didn't do it right...I was told by someone to have her cheek in the way when she does this and personally I'm finding it counterproductive so I've quit using that tactic. I really want to be able to have her around when "strangers" come to visit but I'm afraid that my visitors will always be afraid of her because they don't understand how these puppies play. I really want to keep Violet...and I know she needs socialization as well.

I have friends with dogs whom I can take her too but it's just been one of those weeks where I haven't been able to get her there as much as I'd like. She's lovely, she really is. But, my kids wrestling and behavior almost seem like it's riling her up? And I don't want to scold my kids and less Violet if that makes any sense at all? I just want her to know that it's not ok to bit, or mouth when it's not wanted? She has a fierce growl too when she grabs her leash and I don't like it at all! I want her to learn badly that it's not acceptable otherwise my long walks will be much shorter. I also took her on a long bike ride yesterday as well, and she mostly did well but again, starting riding in front of my tire which I don't allow her to do or I stop the bike...but she still grabs up at that darn leash? I'm going to keep reading and keep trying the tactics I've read...but if anyone has any other input...that would be great. She's got a million chew toys, a kong, rope...everything I could think of to curb her teething and chewing need. So, suggestions welcome, and I hope all this long story makes sense!

User avatar
creiter
Newborn Bully
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:58 pm
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Desperate Need of help for this one...

Postby creiter » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:26 pm

Hey Sparkles! I am new to the forums and I am sure others will offer you much more advice than I will, but I thought I'd give my two cents. I foster a lot of problem dogs and have read countless books on positive training, but that is FAR from me being an expert or even partially knowledgeable haha... I think you have the right idea that a training class would help. Just being around that much ENERGY (other people and dogs) and still having to focus on YOU and what you say does WONDERS. It did for my boy Duke, anyway!

For the nipping/biting... IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE. You have noooo idea how much dogs, especially such attention hogs like our breed, HAAAATE to be ignored. That is the worst (but totally humane) punishment you can give. For example... when your dog nips your kids feet, do they squeel, swing their feet, etc? To a dog, this means YAY LETS PLAY THIS IS FUN!!! He hears them squeeling and moving their feet and thinks it is a game. So the kids need to be still, not make any noise, and either leave the room (unless that causes the dog to chase) or you need to escort the dog out of the room, into another room, where he will be ignored until he can calm down.

Also a good piece of advice I was given that people forget... reward him when he does something good! And I don't mean when you say "sit" he sits... I mean, are there ever times when you are watching TV as a family and he is just laying there like a good dog? LAVISH HIM IN PRAISE AND TREATS. Otherwise how will he know that behavior is good?

I would also highly recommend clicker training if you haven't looked into it already. It has also worked wonders for Duke because he looooves to learn, and the clicking sound really drills it into the dogs brain that they are LEARNING something and doing something RIGHT. Yay success!!!

Back to the nipping... whenever he nips, no need to do anything or say anything except for TOTALLY ignore him. The bigger the change the better... (who's a good boy yaaay hi puppy yaaay *nip* TOTAL SILENCE). He will get the hint fast. But ANY reaction on your part, be it negative or positive, is still attention, and that is what he is seeking when he nips you, so he wins.

As for leash training, I haven't had problems with dogs playing tug of war with the leash, but I am SURE others have. It is a pretty common problem. Suggestions... wear him out BEFORE you go for a walk. The less energy he has the more successful the walk will be. Also, try walking him with a leash inside the house, with no distractions. If he starts to tug on the leash, drop the leash, say no, and ignore him until he calms down. Obviously you must start inside, because if you are outside you can't drop the leash :P I am not sure on this next piece of advice, I am just generalizing behavior issues here, but for example if a dog chews a shoe you are supposed to say NO and then put the shoe away and give him a bone. You teach him that chewing is okay (he is going to chew anyway) but ONLY with a bone NOT with a shoe. He soon learns this. You might try the same concept with your leash and a tug toy... NO tugging the leash, ONLY tug this toy (but be sure you read up on how to play tug of war... it should only be done if your dog obeys the "drop" command, etc).

ALSO do NOT leave the house unless your dog is extremely calm. Make him sit/stay while you put on the leash. If he disobeys at any point, drop EVERYTHING and ignore him. Try again a few minutes later after he calms down. Once he handles this calmly, try opening the door. If he starts getting riled up, again, shut the door and drop EVERYTHING and ignore. He needs to learn that CALM behavior gets him what he wants... AKA THE WALK. If he stays calm, the walk will continue. If he doesn't not only will the walk end, but his human will ignore him (GASP!). You can't expect him to be calm on the walk if he can't remain calm on the steps prior to. After all, the world has a TON more distractions and triggers than the inside world does.

I also HIGHLY recommend a Halti. The doggie school I go to swears by them and now I do too. You probably have already read about them if you have read anything on this forum. Just be sure you train your dog to like the Halti prior to going on a walk... that means many many tiny sessions of him wearing the Halti and being treated like crazy for it prior to putting any pressure on the Halti or attempting to walk. I recommend the Halti because my dog is extremely reactive towards bikes/squirrels on walks, which means if we were on flat collar or even a body harness, if he saw a squirrel BAM he darts off like King Kong and my arm is in pain from holding him back. With a Halti, he could be pulling with all his body weight and it still wouldn't phase my arm one bit (I use a short leash to prevent injury from him gathering momentum). A Halti also allows me to redirect his focus before he reacts to the squirrel or bike and avoid the whole thing (which is an important step in curing a reactive dog of his reactivity... whenever he reacts it is a set back as he relearns his bad behavior, so you have to avoid reactions).

ANYWAY I am getting off topic. I guess my main advice for you is that you have THREE kids and ONE dog... not FOUR KIDS ;) Your dog needs to learn how to be a puppy in safe ways, but also how to be an adult dog (calm and safe and aware of his surroundings and the fact that the kids are not other dogs, he has to play with them as if they were HUMANS).

I also wouldn't worry about not having a masculine voice... some would argue with me, but I think that is a bunch of bologne. If a male friend tries telling my dog to do commands, sometimes he will sometimes he wont, but if I do, even in my most feminine voice, BOOM he obeys. As long as your voice is easy to distinguish amidst the hussle and bussle around him, your dog will listen because he knows good things always follow when he listens.

User avatar
creiter
Newborn Bully
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:58 pm
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Desperate Need of help for this one...

Postby creiter » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:48 pm

He = She.... ugh that is the second time I've done that today!! I have a male dog so assume everyone's dog is male haha :P I wish there was an edit button. My apologies for confusing your dog's gender, don't tell her!

Sparkles
Newborn Bully
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:18 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: Desperate Need of help for this one...

Postby Sparkles » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:55 pm

Wow, that's some great advice. I did try some of them today...I do find that walking away helps with her bite a bit...and she rode real well on a bike ride today...I just have to break her of that grabbing up at her leash...I also have to worry about her snatching food off the table...like when my kids eat...she sits there and begs. I say get out and sometimes she does...but other times she don't. She acts like she's STARVING! Maybe I'm not feeding her enough...who knows! Don't worry about screwing up gender...I screw up my kids names all the time! ;-)

User avatar
MarMar
Bully Lover 4 Life
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:18 am
Location: Sooke, BC

Re: Desperate Need of help for this one...

Postby MarMar » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:36 pm

I would probably stick with the harness, and never mind having the leash on the collar. the more practice she gets pulling on lead with a collar, the harder it will be to teach her later. And right now, it sounds like you have bigger fish to fry ;) A head halter can be a great tool for certain, but be aware that if your walks are spent with your dog constantly straining against the halter, it's not going to be much fun for either of you.

For the tugging on the leash, this is probably a sort of stress release. Could you take something else with you to play tug with her with, or just to let her carry in her mouth? A toy or ball or even another leash? Giving her an appropriate outlet for this behaviour will probably be useful. For many "naughty" things that dogs do, we can't just block them or they'll show up somewhere else ;)

Is there something happening on the walks that is extra stressful for her? Remember, dogs DO need exercise, but if the exercise is getting them overstimulated and overthreshold every time, you're not going to see this exercise tire them out. It may have the opposite effect.

I see you have a lot of kids. I admire your dedication to your dog! Does she have a safe, QUIET area she can go to rest? Dogs need at least 17 hours of sleep a day, and often young dogs in busy households don't get this, and it manifests in stress behaviors. Also, some dogs (my Shepherd mix is one) simply won't do this for themselves, they need help. Becky has her own bedroom where she goes to relax. And yes, your kids' wrestling behavior will get her riled up! Personally, I would not have my dog around kids when they are wrestling. I don't particularly want an adolescent dog to play with young kids as if they were puppies. I know they can tell the difference, but for a dog who already has impulse control issues, I'd not risk it.

I hope you can somehow make it to a skilled professional, but if not, here are some other things you can check out:

Chill Out Fido by Nan Arthur
Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program by Leslie McDevitt
Learn to Earn by Sophia Yin

Oh yes, and forget anything you've been told about "dominance". It is unhelpful at best and damaging to your relationship with your dog at worst.

Good luck!


Return to “Training and Behavior”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests